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Post 14 Oct 2011, 10:19 am

I’ll start off by thanking Patrick for a very well GM’d game. The game ran smoothly all the way through, the little asides at the top of the results prompted a few giggles, and he was a responsive and pro-active host. I’ve played in a game or two run by Patrick before, and I think there are few better GMs out there.

When I first saw the draw, my heart sank. England. Again. I’d played England in round 1. I’d played England in the final of the Gunboat tourney. I’d played England on the most recent OTTO standard game. What is more, I always have found England a real challenge to play. For some reason I usually manage to overcook it and crumble in the mid-game.

When I looked at the full roster, however, I was in a much better mood. I’ve been up against William (Turkey) before, and I know he’s a good laugh. I think I’d also encountered Fred (debergerac88 - Germany) and Kyle (heretkyl - Italy) either as a GM for them or as an opponent, and I had good vibes. Russell (Austria) and Vince (theodorelogan - France) I’d never played but I know very well from years of discussion on the forums. Monte (Ray Jay - Russia) I have actually met in person and yet never played against, so I was looking forward to a good mix of players. To cap it all, being GM’d by someone of Patrick’s reputation made me sure that I’d at the very least enjoy the game.

So, England’s first job is to butter up France and Germany, and see if you can play the off against each other. I had contact with Germany early on, and we did talk, but I was waiting to see what France would come up with. Nothing came back. I think it was around the same time that Vince sent me a google+ invite (which I accepted) and I was most confused as to why he was not engaging in the game while clearly being around. I also got talking to Russia and to Italy, but to my shame did not really engage much with Austria and had a cursory exchange with Turkey.

The opening moves were a bit of an eye-opener. Vince had moved into the Channel, and into Burgundy, and against Piedmont. That was some starting play! But without any known diplomacy, it was extremely odd. It did mean that both Germany and I were wondering if the other was in a deal with France, but when it became apparent that there was no relationship at all, it made it incredibly easy to rally a 3v1. Other than that, the openings were fairly standard, and I knew that if I could earn Germany’s trust, we had a solid early game common purpose.

Russia looked to be in trouble in the south, and so Germany and I cooked up a deal where I’d be the good guy and he could choose whether or not to bounce Sweden. I was to some extent hoping to keep Monte on side so that I had a choice of working with him against Germany once France was under, and that would be easier if there was already tension between them. My idea was to offer Russia support into Sweden in the event of a f01 bounce, and then have to reluctantly bow out due to the need to keep an active ally against a chaotic France. Did it work? Monte will be able to say if it did or not.

France’s odd moves meant that Germany and I were able to contain him at first, and then push through. Because he didn’t secure the Iberian centres, and decided to keep hold of the rogue army heading East, once we set up a line it was pretty easy to press South. I had been intending to work with Italy on the downlow (another option for a later ally against Germany if I wanted one), but when it came down to it, I found that it was more important to me to ensure that an Italy allied to Austria didn’t have a chance to break out of the Med, than to betray what I thought was becoming a stronger ally in Germany.

Of course, what I could see was that Russia and Austria had decided to get together to take out Turkey, and then we’d have two well-founded alliances facing each other, with Italy in the middle. I didn’t see any point in my cultivating Italy as the only scope for growth would have been through him or through Germany, other than what I could get from Russia. Besides, I could see that Italy was already working well with Austria, and was not really in a position to stab.

So, I decided before France had gone that I was not going to break with Germany, that I would care-bear if necessary and that our best strategy was simply to openly go for it once it was clear where we stood. That meant showing our hand against Russia, and trying to dig in (and France’s lost tribe did come in handy for that), and at the same time doing all I could to get fleets into the Med to try and cross a stalemate line.

The first part worked out ok, and the second was slower than I could hope but we were making progress, when Germany had a bit of a wobble. He appeared to think (as he had at the beginning) that I was about to stab him, and instead of pressing on, he pulled back to cover his rear. I’m guessing that Monte had a fair amount to do with this, as he was at the same time trying to convince me to attack Germany. Had I done so, we’d have been knocking heads and would have totally lost the initiative. Perhaps it would have triggered a shakeup in the RAI alliance, but I suspect not. As it was, it meant that the EG became less an equal partnership and more one where I had the upper hand. Circumstances also meant that even though I was happy to let Germany take dots in France, he needed to use his army to defend Munich. After that we worked hard to remove Italy’s army that had snuck past our line, and I basically set out to hold St Petes for as long as possible while taking Spain.

I knew that StP would go, but I also knew that I could hold Norway for as long as necessary as long as Germany was solid. Also, the centre-ground looked like it could be held by Germany, as long as he didn’t wobble again. Which meant that realistically, the only area of decisive action was the Med. Two errors decided the outcome. First of all, Italy missed a retreat. Had he used it, he’d have been able to push me back out of Western Med the next turn, and lock that part of the map. But I had the upper hand and Austria’s fleet was still too far away to help, so at last I was able to progress. But the second error was mine – I misordered and so didn’t move a fleet into the Mid-Atlantic. From there, I would have been able to start pumping fleets into NAf or WMed and try to break through the Italian line. But that gap cancelled out the advantage from the missed retreat, and that was that.

Could we have shaken up the alliances and produced a different outcome? Perhaps. But I was dedicated to working with Germany and crucially I had not really spent any time talking to Austria. Had I been more talkative with him at the start (and had Russell been more communicative back), it’s possible we could have worked together. Ironically, the two potential partners I did work with became the very reason that I could not split with Germany. A 5-way draw seemed like the fairest result. I ended up with more SCs, but I think to be fair I was lucky that France threw the game and also to have as generous an ally as Germany.

Player by player:

Germany – You were a really good ally, and I was trying to reassure you all the time that I was being straight. Most of the time I was, and my plans to stab you were always more speculative than realistic. Had you been a little more trusting, we could have pushed over the line. Even so, you were a great ally and when we combined together we really did the business. Solid defensive play from you at the end gave both of us a decent result. Thanks, and I hope to meet you over a board soon.

France – WTF?

Russia – A good genial game, even after it was clear to both of us that we were going to be on opposite sides. I think you came closest to breaking the EG alliance, and well done for that, but I was absolutely telling the truth when I said I would stick by Germany. Also, I did hold out a hope for an EGR alliance at the end, but clearly you were committed to Austria and didn’t trust me enough.

Italy – I think we could perhaps have worked better together, but the more you associated with AR, the harder it was to think of working with you. You put up a really good fight in the Med, and it would have been a shame had that NRR turned the game for you.

Turkey – Farewell, fellow witch. Alas, our dreams of splitting Europe came to nought.

Austria – My one regret from this game is that we did not talk. It could have been so much different if there had been regular contact between us. I hold my hands up to my side of that. I’ve no idea why I didn’t get in touch during those early years, and towards the end I just figured there was no point. A mistake on my part for sure.

GM – as I said before, I already knew you were one of the best GMs out there. You did not disappoint at all. Thanks for all the work.
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Post 14 Oct 2011, 10:45 am

danivon wrote:I’ll start off by thanking Patrick for a very well GM’d game... I’ve played in a game or two run by Patrick before, and I think there are few better GMs out there.

Very kind of you, it was my pleasure!
:cool:
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Post 24 Oct 2011, 1:11 pm

Russia looked to be in trouble in the south, and so Germany and I cooked up a deal where I’d be the good guy and he could choose whether or not to bounce Sweden. I was to some extent hoping to keep Monte on side so that I had a choice of working with him against Germany once France was under, and that would be easier if there was already tension between them. My idea was to offer Russia support into Sweden in the event of a f01 bounce, and then have to reluctantly bow out due to the need to keep an active ally against a chaotic France. Did it work? Monte will be able to say if it did or not.


Not really. I had conflicting information from Germany. Also, the French dynamic ensured that you and Germany would ally for at least the first 2 years.

Ironically, Derek stabbing me in the south relaxed you and Germany about my taking SWE in 1901.
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Post 24 Oct 2011, 1:13 pm

The first part worked out ok, and the second was slower than I could hope but we were making progress, when Germany had a bit of a wobble. He appeared to think (as he had at the beginning) that I was about to stab him, and instead of pressing on, he pulled back to cover his rear. I’m guessing that Monte had a fair amount to do with this, as he was at the same time trying to convince me to attack Germany. Had I done so, we’d have been knocking heads and would have totally lost the initiative.


Yes, I almost got you two to fight. Had the real world not been so busy, perhaps I could have been more persistent. The German wobble really did him in.
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Post 24 Oct 2011, 2:05 pm

It does take two to tango. Germany was not moving to attack me, but to defend from me (mainly because to attack me would have been very difficult anyway). I was not going to attack him, and only had he attacked me would I have been likely to reciprocate. I wasn't in much of a position to attack him either, having invested in fleets.